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Say what you may about Star Wars: The Force Awakens feeling a bit too familiar, but one thing that most people agree on is that it succeeded in introducing some compelling new characters into the mix. Rey, Finn, Poe and BB-8 are insanely likable characters that fans are ready to follow through two more movies and beyond. However, this doesn't mean they don't have their critics. Rey especially was the subject of some controversy when some labeled her a "Mary Sue," which only confused her actress, Daisy Ridley. Here's what she had to say on the subject:
The Mary Sue thing in itself is sexist because it's the name of a woman. Everyone was saying that Luke had the exact same [capabilities]. I think Rey is incredibly vulnerable, and nothing she's doing is for the greater good. She's just doing what she thinks is the right thing. And she doesn't want to do some of it, but she feels compelled to do it. So for me, I was just confused.
For those who don't know, Mary Sue is a term given to characters in fiction who "save the day through unrealistic abilities." Essentially, it's a character who can inexplicably solve any problem because they have to. Though the term can be used for both genders, it's most often attached to female characters, which has led some to claim it's a sexist term meant to keep down capable characters. People called Rey a Mary Sue because of the many hats she wore, like being a pilot/mechanic who can somehow fix the Millennium Falcon or defeat Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel, despite never being trained.
Daisy Ridley was on the MTV podcast Happy Sad Confused and addressed her opinion on the Mary Sue label with host Josh Horowitz. Mostly, she was just confused by it because it's not a term that describes Rey. While Rey has many useful skills, Ridley argues that the character is emotionally challenged and not some archetype hero character. She doesn't necessarily want to do what she does and is routinely challenged. Luke Skywalker himself is also a great pilot and mechanic, though he wasn't quite as quick as Rey at picking up the Force.
While Rey has plenty of skills that conveniently get her out of some jams, I think to label her a Mary Sue is a step too far. Like Ridley says, Rey may be able to physically handle most situations, but emotionally is a whole other story. Rey's abilities do come too easily to her (how did she know she can mind control people through the Force?), but that's more the fault of lazy script work than anything else.
You can next see Rey in Star Wars Episode VIII, which is scheduled to hit theaters on December 15, 2017.